Almost exactly one month ago San Jose and Los Angeles played one of the most tense, exciting games of the season, with both ultimately settling for a 2-2 draw down south. After a variety of injuries and transfer signings the San Jose team that takes the field against L.A. could look quite a bit different.
Beyond the actual result the story of this game for the Quakes will be Geovanni. San Jose's first ever designated player hasn't has any time to train with the team after dealing with legal and travel issues and it's not known if Frank Yallop will choose to start him immediately, particularly against a team as good as the Galaxy. The other question is where he'll play. Khari Stephenson acquitted himself very well in his first game with the Quakes last week as an attacking midfielder, which perhaps means that Geovanni is more likely to be deployed as a winger or striker. In any case, Geovanni's ability to quickly mix with his teammates may be critical for San Jose's playoff chances.
In other team news, Jon Busch will be back in goal after a one game break - because of injury rather than poor performance. Joe Cannon played well in earning a clean sheet against Kansas City, but suffered a broken ankle that will end any goalkeeping controversies for the rest of the season.
On the injury front, Bobby Burling is expected to return to the starting lineup, but enough defenders are still on the shelf to keep Brandon McDonald and Bobby Convey playing out of position on the back line.
What to watch for:
Cohesion in the midfield - With potentially two new players on the pitch San Jose will have a major challenge against the likes of Landon Donovan, Juninho and Michael Stevens. It's already a tall task to find possession and create chances against Los Angeles with a talented lineup used to playing with each other. But if San Jose can find a way to keep the ball away from L.A.'s play makers they'll give themselves a fighting chance.
Vulnerabilities in the back line - When San Jose last played L.A. the Quakes sent out their best starting defense, and they gallantly defended against a dominating, attacking Galaxy squad for a full 90 minutes. Because San Jose's midfield could not maintain possession, the defense faced constant pressure and actually did well to only allow two goals. This time around San Jose will not be sending out their best defense because of the aforementioned injuries. All things considered, holding L.A. to two goals might be a moral victory - anything less a major triumph.